How to Measure for Curtains

06/06/2017, 13:51

Measuring for curtains is a simple task, but one that is still worth doing carefully. If you purchase curtains that are the wrong size, then they could either let too much light in, or look unsightly once hung.


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Follow these simple tips to get the perfect size of curtains for your windows.            

How to Measure Your Windows

Firstly, you will need to measure for a new curtain track or pole. You can skip this if you are happy with your existing pole or track, and intend to keep it. To measure up for a new one:

  • Measure the width of the window recess, at the top of the window.
  • Consider how far you want to have the curtains over-hang on each side of the window. Most people opt to have 20cm of overlap on each side. This is a good amount to allow the curtains to open fully, and let lots of light through. If you do not have space on the sides of the windows, you may opt for less overlap.
  • The length of the track required is the width of the window, plus double the desired overlap.

Next, you should measure the curtains for width.

  • The desired width of the curtains is the length of the pole (excluding finials). You can either take measurement from the previous step, or measure your existing pole.
  • Remember that you don’t want curtains to be completely flat when closed – you will want some ‘gather’ so that the curtains look soft and flow nicely. If you want your curtains to have medium gather, then you should multiply the length of the track by 1.5, then divide that number by 2. This will give you the required width for each curtain.
  • If you want your curtains to have full gather, each curtain should be the length of the curtain pole.
  • If you want your curtains to have heavy gather, take the length of the curtain pole, multiply it by 2.5, then divide the result by 2. The result is the length of a single curtain – again, remember that you will be hanging two curtains.

Finally, you need to measure the curtain drop. This is how long the curtains are, and therefore how far they fall below the sill. There are a few different “standards” for curtain drop:

  • Sill-length curtains will typically finish 1.25cm above the sill.
  • If you want your curtain to fall below the sill, aim for the overhang to be about 15cm.
  • For floor-length curtains, allow 2.5cm of clearance.
  • Measure from the top of the track or pole, above the recess, to the point where you want the curtain to finish. If you have eyelet or ring-top curtains, add 3.5cm to that measurement to get the desired curtain length.

It’s a good idea to take all of these measurements twice, to make sure they’re accurate. In addition, remember that ready-made curtains come in a handful of standard sizes, so you may need to get a bigger size and have them adjusted. Curtains are listed by their width and height- so a 168x137cm curtain is 168cm wide, and 137cm long. If you’re not sure what size to buy, opt for a bigger one, and have it taken in.

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